WE STAND WITH #BLACKLIVESMATTER
PUBLIC STATEMENT, JUNE 4, 2020
Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Inc. (HCCI) stands with the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Abery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, countless others killed by police officers, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Born out of the Civil Rights movement, Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Inc. (HCCI) was established in 1986, not only to help redress the structural inequalities that plagued the lives of Harlem's primarily Black residents, but also to address the long standing neglect of a community of African Americans who were denied basic and essential services such as garbage collection, adequate access to health care, pharmacies, healthy food choices, social services, clean streets, and general quality living conditions.
HCCI’s goal was to heal a community that was left even more devastated by the riots of 1968, the crack epidemic, and Harlem's battle with the spread of HIV/AIDS. Formed by a group of local clergy HCCI emerged, providing needed affordable housing, job training, health and wellness services and youth development. Our goals were and are to redress the effects of systemic racism by rebuilding communities, and empowering residents.
We are led by men and women of faith, who have seen times like these before, people who -- with grit, temerity, and the Grace of God -- have overcome adversity, and emerged victorious. Out of the ongoing protests we see a new generation of leaders emerging. HCCI embraces and wholly supports them, because they are our youth, our children, regardless of race or color of skin. They are young people with a conscious and a desire for the fair application of justice and peace. They are fighting for us all. We pray that they will be safe, wear masks, and avoid provocateurs.
In August, 1963, Dr. King said, “ I have a dream… where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.“ HCCI and you are witnesses of that dream beginning its manifestation. The marches we are now experiencing across this country represent people of all nations answering the call of Dr. King’s dream. Of course, there are always interlopers, the looters, and the larger system of institutional racism. These elements will not succeed.
While the struggle for equality continues to be fought on many fronts: in the streets, courtrooms, class rooms and in our homes, HCCI will continue to play its role as a community builder and healer. As we work in partnership with local leaders, law enforcement and elected officials to improve the lives of our residents, we implore them to listen to the cries of our youth and community.
Because in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Social justice and progress, are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.” MLK
Click here to download the statement on letterhead.